Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Video Metadata Key Strategic Importance For Online Video Publishers - Part 1

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Video metadata has become a strategically critical factor in the successful creation and distribution of video content on the Internet.

Photo credit: SSilver

As major search engines can't yet make sense of what is being said inside a video or where and who is being portrayed, unless you take the time to learn how to provide relevant and detailed video metadata efficiently to those services who will distribute your video content, you take a high risk of publishing video content that no-one will ever see.

Two types of video metadata exist:

a) Operational, automatically gathered video metadata, which is typically a set of automatically-generated information about the content you produce, such as the equipment you used, the software you employed, the date you created your content, GPS coordinates of shooting location, and more.

b) Human-authored video metadata, which can be created, aimed at providing more search engine visibility, audience engagement, and better advertising opportunities for online video publishers.

In the following two-part report entitled "The Currency of Internet Video" (Part 2), Gotuit, a company specializing in online video metadata management, explains why online video metadata is so critically important today for any serious online video publisher.

Intro by Robin Good


The Currency of Internet Video

Executive Summary


Internet video is all the rage among consumers. Publishers, broadcasters and advertisers are all eager to catch this wave.

Internet video is projected to be the majority of consumer Internet traffic in the coming years, and the Internet is a significant distribution medium for video. Paradoxically, publishers are facing challenges in monetizing Internet video despite consumer demand.

The Internet differs from traditional means of distribution.

Much of the value propositions of the Internet as a distribution medium have not been recognized and
utilized towards the strategic goals of video publishers. Metadata is the linchpin to unlocking this value.

As the title of this paper states, metadata is the 'currency' of Internet video.

With quality metadata, publishers can create video experiences integral to Internet audiences and new monetization schemes around these experiences, including advertising.

Metadata enables the following and more:

Publishers, therefore, need to consider metadata as the third key element of video production, in addition to video and audio.

While metadata is critical to the success of Internet video strategies, costs associated with authoring metadata are insignificant to the overall costs of video production.

Metadata quality must be assured for publishers to deploy successful Internet video strategies.

Quality metadata is human authored as opposed to automated.

While automated schemes are neither sufficiently accurate nor reliable, they also do not allow the programming choices possible with human authored metadata. Moreover, human authored metadata is more efficient to create. At the same time, such meta-data can be added to video even after video has been published, creating new use cases and programming options. Such quality metadata cannot be an afterthought, or worse, overlooked.

Publishers need to recognize that successful Internet video strategies may well rest on suitably authored metadata and metadata management systems.


Introduction: The Internet Is About Data, People - and Metadata

Figure 1

Metadata is data about data - it is the connective tissue between people and the large amount of information on the Internet.

Metadata provides usable context to data for users.

For the foreseeable future, metadata will be used to harness the usefulness of the Internet as machines cannot bridge the semantic-gap between people and machines, nor understand the context of information that humans generally take for granted and understand intuitively.

As we enter the era where video is gaining importance on the Internet, the role of metadata becomes vital.

Video on the Internet not only adds to the semantic gap between humans and machines, but also creates a visual gap that machines inherently cannot understand.

Internet video is forecast to comprise 90% of consumer Internet traffic by 2012 (Figure 1). Today, Internet video delivers 70% of the impressions of television. At the same time, Internet video advertising in 2007 was around $400 million compared to $70 billion that television advertising generated.

The industry is abuzz whether the Internet will create monetization of video the way traditional broadcast media has.

Publishing to broad-band with associated advertising like television is not driving desired returns for video.

This paper discusses the role of human-authored, quality metadata as an overlooked imperative of Internet video programming towards this objective.


All Metadata Is Not Created Equal

Figure 2

Metadata itself is not a new concept. It is important, however, to recognize that use of metadata during the production process is very different from use of metadata as the 'currency for video' - a new construct that deserves attention. This construct is explored in the next section.

Overall, in the course of video production, a large amount of metadata is created for administrative, compliance, and operational purposes. Most of this metadata does not make it to the final publishing process owing to the various transcoding processes in the production workflow. Even if it did, metadata to build engaging consumer experiences and ">optimal monetization of video must be authored with this distinct objective. Such metadata needs a high level of accuracy and flexibility to serve its purpose (Figure 2).

Amongst the growing need for metadata, the industry is also hoping for a silver bullet to address metadata creation through machine functions such as speech-to-text, facial, and object recognition. As we shall see, such technologies are not sufficiently developed to achieve the quality and accuracy required to engage and monetize audiences that human authored metadata can. Nor are such technologies, even when perfected, suited to entirely meet the needs of consumers, given the man-machine semantic gap discussed earlier.

For publishers, the following considerations are central to this discussion:

  1. The limited accuracy of automated metadata can drive basic video search, but cannot be used for the purpose of improving the viewing or advertising experience.
  2. Machine functions require significant training by a person, and therefore are not truly automated.
  3. Machine functions are limited to the existing data set, and cannot add new information about the video like a person can.


Metadata Is The Currency of Internet Video

Figure 3

Metadata based applications allow the inherent value of video to be unlocked and monetized on the Internet. These applications range from elementary search and discovery, to advanced use cases such as, scene level search, targeting, social networking, advertising and interactivity (Figure 3).

Video is intended to deliver an experience and engage us more than any other medium. People relate to, experience, and consume video on many levels. People develop affinities or characters, storylines, events, special-effects, and many other aspects of information captured on video.

Bringing the vernacular of Internet experiences to video applications is extremely challenging in the absence of quality metadata.

Let us elaborate on some of the features listed in Figure 3 for the purpose of illustration.

More in-depth implementations of such features are described later in the paper:

  • Advertising: Metadata defines instream ad insertion points with accuracy. This can be used to create flexible ad logic, targeted advertising, and new forms of advertising supported programming such as playlists, mashups, and viral sharing consistent with Internet user behavior.

  • Search: Scene metadata can be used to drive better and more granular search results. Metadata can capture intent of the video in addition to the content of the video to aid more sophisticated search.

    For example, a serene seascape has a very different intent with an accompanying music track from the film Jaws as opposed to a Largo from Vivaldi's 'The Four Seasons'.

  • Navigation: Video programming, whether news or primetime sitcoms, is being produced in shorter, more discrete segments than before. Metadata allows scene and segment level search, virtual clips, sharing and playlisting without compromising the integrity of the original video asset. With metadata, advertising can be associated with such clips and playlists, in addition to the full length program.

For video publishers and broadcasters, the absence of rendering video without the level of relational information - i.e., metadata - commensurate with the diverse associations people have with video and use cases on the Internet means that consumption, and therefore monetization, of video is compromised.


Applications of Video Metadata


It is also important to understand that metadata is not a single attribute of video, but rather serves multiple purposes. Among these, metadata creates new avenues for creative expression by video publishers and new models of advertising.

The uses of metadata are varied such that metadata creation and applications can continue to evolve much after a video title has been published.

Let us consider a few examples of video programming that has been tailored for Internet audiences using metadata.

Increasing Advertising Options For Advertisers and Publishers


Dynamic ad insertion and flexible ad logic: Implementations of meta-data for dynamic advertising and flexible advertising logic enable broadband video publishers to enhance how they monetize their video libraries by authoring structured metadata describing each meaningful scene within the original source videos. This metadata defines the optimal in-stream video ad insertion points, allowing publishers greater control and flexibility with their advertising strategies. In addition, the ads served in the precise insertion points can be targeted by third-party ad providers based on the scene metadata such as Character Name, Player Name, Topic, Keyword, etc.

Banner or overlay ads can also be targeted based on the rich metadata. As a result of this greater ad logic flexibility, rather than just pre- and post-rolls for each asset, publishers can set their ad logic to utilize the mid-roll insertion points. The publisher sets the ad timer, and the ad will play at the next available insertion point, no matter what asset or scene is being viewed, after the timer has expired.

The result is that the viewer has the freedom to sample more assets and navigate directly to the most interesting scenes, while the publisher is able to monetize that experience in the most effective way possible. This capability has been applied to Flash and Move Networks' video formats.


Increasing Programming Options For Publishers and Syndicators


  • Search, clips and playlists: Extreme Outdoor Network ( specializing in outdoor recreational activities such as hunting and fishing realized that regular thirty to sixty minute programming was not suitable for its Internet video audiences.

    In order to maximize the impact of their online video programming, XON choose to author metadata for its videos such that enthusiasts of individual sports could find video segments tailored to their specific interest within their genre of interest.

    Rather than create a large number of individual clips through editing the videos, XON applied metadata to their original thirty to sixty minute programs such that the original video assets can be rendered as virtual clips that can be searched, organized and programmed to meet individual user's needs.

  • Chapterization, skip and search: When Fox Reality decided to broadcast their Fox Reality Really Awards show on the web, the indexed the entire award show in segments so that users could watch sections that were of interest to them. It was unlikely that most users would watch the entire program on the web. However through metadata indexing, users can skip to sections based by award, show, presenter, musician and so on, as well as create playlists and watch them in linear fashion, thereby creating their own highlights of the awards ceremony.

  • Dynamic programming and multiple navigational paths: Sports Illustrated uses metadata to create dynamic programming for College Football fans through its FilmRooms™ video portals. Users can navigate through multiple paths to view highlights, which are updated as the games progress and ranking get updated. Users can search by team, player, position and othe ways that give them easy access to create their own highlight clips that can be shared with others and posted on user websites and blogs.


Increasing New Consumer Video Experiences


  • Mashups, personalization and sharing: Lifetime uses metadata to allow users to define their own virtual scenes within a video program. These scenes can be shared with others, and concatenated to create user-defined playlists (mashups). Users can also add additional metadata to make the scenes more meaningful and manageable. The scenes are organized by meta data and the underlying video assets are not changed, eliminating additional storage and management costs.

  • Reorganize and collaboration: Similarly, Carleton University uses video on demand to create lectures that students can tailor to their needs through indexing parts of video lectures and reorganizing them to their individual requirements. At the same time student notes and annotations make the videos searchable by other students.

  • Customize and Self-programming: Sprint has used metadata to create a new application for fantasy football with the National Football League.

    NFL Fantasy Video is the first mobile application that allowed users to watch their own custom video highlight reels of just the players they want. Each week during the season, every play of every game in the NFL is indexed using metadata. Sprint customers can then set up their fantasy team, or favorite players, including a QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, TE, K, and a team defense. Once set up, users can see the video highlights of just their players, and even jump to a specific play. In addition, users can scout any other NFL player's video highlights and choose to add them to their team.

End of Part 1

Originally written by the Gotuit Team for Gotuit and first published as "The Currency of Internet Video" on October, 2008.


About the author

Gotuit is a developer of video metadata technology. Founded in 2000, Gotuit is privately held and funded by Highland Capital Partners, Atlas Venture, Motorola, and private investors.The company enables users to add metadata to sections of videos that are uploaded to their site. Gotuit powers video for leading brands such as Lifetime, Fox, Sports Illustrated, Major League Soccer and more.

Photo credits:
Executive Summary - Rafael Angel Irusta Machin
Introduction: The Internet Is About Data, People - and Metadata - Gotuit
All Metadata Is Not Created Equal - Gotuit
Metadata Is The Currency of Internet Video - Gotuit
Applications of Video Metadata - chaoss
Increasing Advertising Options For Advertisers and Publishers -Antonio Nunes
Increasing Programming Options For Publishers and Syndicators - Konstantinos Kokkinis
Increasing New Consumer Video Experience - picpics

Gotuit Team -
Reference: Gotuit [ Read more ]
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posted by Daniele Bazzano on Thursday, November 6 2008, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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